The 16-year-old author Dubai Abulhoul will launch her debut novel Galagolia: The Hidden Divination as part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.
One young Emirati author sets out to offer a fresh perspective of the UAE
While the festival is hosting some of the biggest and experienced names in the industry, it will also shine a spotlight on some of the UAE's emerging talents, none of whom are as young as Dubai Abulhoul.
The 16-year-old will launch her debut novel Galagolia: The Hidden Divination as part of the festival. Planned as a series, the fantasy novel follows a 10-year-old girl from Deira who, after her mother's death, discovers a portal to an unseen universe.
Abulhoul explains her fantasy world does have a distinct Emirati flavour.
"I use a lot of animals that we have in Emirati culture like the falcons and horses, as well as local names," she says. "I want to give the story an Emirati feel without being too much in someone's face."
Our interview is held after a school day. Abulhoul says her afternoons have developed a familiar routine. Ever since she was 11 years old, she would dedicate her time after studies to penning her creative thoughts.
She says Galagolia began as a series of plot points she jotted down for a film. Indeed, she reached her initial dream by turning the story into a two-minute animation film, which she entered into the Gulf Film Festival. Thrilled by the reception, which included a special recognition award, Abulhoul immediately began fashioning her notes as a novel.
"I realised that I could write more," she says. "Before, I would just write it as a set of ideas and then I wrote it properly with chapters. I was surprised at how it all came out."
While the literal style of Galagolia changed throughout the years to reflect her intellectual growth, Abulhoul says most of the characters and plot lines didn't stray from what she had first imagined as an 11-year-old.
Her welcoming message behind her story also didn't change with the years.
"I wanted people to know how I am living," she says. "I want people to know that there is so much more to us than just skyscrapers, and more than what the media tries to display."
• Dubai Abulhoul will launch Galagolia as part of the festival session The Unveiling of Galagolia - Let the Fantasy Begin, this Thursday at 7.30pm in the InterContinental, Dubai Festival City
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